Clandestine Freemasonry

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by flameburns623, Dec 26, 2016.

  1. flameburns623

    flameburns623 Registered User

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    So: a co-worker and I were discussing Freemasonry. His father had been a Prince Hall Freemason. And, apparently, expired before my coworker reached majority.

    The coworker, at 17, was honoring his Dad's memory by wearing Dad's Masonic ring, on the mean streets of inner-city St. Louis: and, someone professing to be a Mason themselves, accosted him and forcibly took his ring. Allegedly with a law officer present.

    My first impression was this story was apocryphal or that something was going on more than I was aware. I could not imagine, among other things, a cop permitting a strong-arm robbery to occur before his eyes without intervening. I did advise my friend it is poor form to wear Masonic items if one is not initiated: but I deemed it grossly un-Masonic to steal an heirloom from a young boy.

    By mere chance just days later I was listening to The Masonic Roundtable online and caught a broadcast on Clandestine Freemasonry. And, one of the guests thereon recounted an experience not dissimilar to my Black friend's. Apparently, several Clandestine groups specialize in relieving "unworthy" wearers of their Masonic items.

    And some have been known to have buddies, essentially impersonating law enforcement, standing nearby, giving impression of authority to the theft.

    Numerous questions about all of this. Entirely unheard of in my limited experience. These groups abound among African Americans more than in my own Caucasian communities, apparently: why so?

    Any good reading suggestions on this? Thanks!
     
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  2. Matt L

    Matt L Site Benefactor

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    I'm a 30 year Street cop, that would never occur in my presence. The "Brother" relieving the profane of his ring would be sitting in the county jail on at least a robbery charge and depending on the value of the ring either a misdemeanor or felony theft charge.

    While I was getting the victims info, I would explain what the wearing of the ring means to us, and if he wants to honor his father, petition and start his own journey. The ring would have more significance then.
     
  3. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    I've heard of similar situations, but I can't imagine legitimizing yourself as a MM just by saying, "Hey, I'm a Mason and you're not. Give me that ring." To me, I'd say, I don't know you to be as such no more than you don't know I to be as such. If it's real, it doesn't make any sense, and I almost wish someone would try that with me. Unmasonic of me to say that, but they ain't getting my ring unless they have a gun pointed at my head. That's very, very disrespectful.
     
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  4. flameburns623

    flameburns623 Registered User

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    At 17 yo, I think my friend would have been limited to joining DeMolay.

    And if I am getting the story about these Clandestine Lodges correct, some of them have a 'security team' for want of a better term, whose appearance is that of a law officer.
     
  5. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    If that's true, that's crazy. Wow...
     
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  6. Matt L

    Matt L Site Benefactor

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    Sounds like an elaborate shakedown to me. Impersonating a Police Officer and conspiracy to commit robbery charges might put a dent in their operation.
     
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  7. flameburns623

    flameburns623 Registered User

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    My friend is in his early 30's now, so this happened more than 15 years back.

    Per two accounts told on Masonic podcasts I have heard in the last ten days or so, it is more common, in the inner cities, and among minority Brethren, for a PHA Mason to be hailed by a "Brother" unknown to him: who quizzes the PHA member on his "Masonic knowledge", and confiscates the legiimate Prince Hall brother's Masonic items "to send to your Lodge with directions to ensure you are more properly instructed ".

    No idea if the Clandestine "Brother" usually follows up, or just keeps the PHA member's stuff. I am thinking the latter.
     
  8. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    So do they ask the passwords and whatnot on the street? How does the legit brother know the other is legit? And as a part of Masonry, recognition isn't necessarily being able to explain every single detail. Why are they so worried about how knowledgeable another brother is? Why don't they just worry about themselves? If anything, how about mentoring them instead of humiliating them on the street and then calling them out to their home lodge? I never took an obligation stating I would call somebody out on the street and correct them and then take their stuff to send to their home lodge. That's some Animal House fraternity stuff and if it's going on, it's un-Masonic and should be addressed.
     
  9. flameburns623

    flameburns623 Registered User

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    I do not have answers for you. Twelve or thirteen days ago I suspected my coworker of telling a tall tale or at least misconstruing a sad incident.

    Since then, I have heard, on separate podcasts, that African American Masons particularly in the inner cities (though one Brother was accosted in an urban airport), experience this with some regularity.
    Perhaps others are more knowledgeable. That was one of my motivations in starting this thread.
     
  10. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    If you search this and other fora, particularly the FB groups, you will find it is common in some communities, including some PHA, to require Masons to defend their "light", i.e., jewellery and apparel, by responding to Catch-e-kisms, from the book of that name. They will even brag about doing so.
     
  11. flameburns623

    flameburns623 Registered User

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    Brother Cook: thanks. I was just googling for an anecdote to illustrate what I have been describing and found this thread:

    https://www.myfreemasonry.com/threads/having-your-light-taken.24294/

    Boggles my brain.
     
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  12. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    Wow
     
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  13. flameburns623

    flameburns623 Registered User

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    So does anyone know why Clandestine Freemasonry is exceptionally prevalent among inner-city minority groups? My impression is, it has something to do with internal fractures and schisms among 19th century Prince Hall Masonry. But perhaps some could flesh the topic out?
     
  14. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    The best person would be Oscar Alleyne.

    I lay part of the blame at the door for the State GLs. We labelled PHA as irregular and clandestine. If you are a young man of color, why would it matter which GL
    join if all have been labelled clandestine?

    The other issue is that the State GLs have a well established system to demonstrate regularity, in part through the CGMNA Commission. Phylaxis came later to the game, and while useful and respected, does not have official imprimatur.
     
  15. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Serious question, does it really need it ? It doesn't initiate anyone and already has a strong rep for what it does...

    "Defending your light"....it's a game in a small irregular sub-culture, but a crime in wider Masonic and general society. Terrible to read of this young man's father's ring being stolen, I'd be writing to every clandestine group in the state lest they keep them as trophies... you never know and I feel so bad about this kid.... but at least you can explain it... mark my words, one day defending light will get someone killed if it hasn't happened already... it would sure upset me..
     
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  16. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    Unfortunately, defending your light is also in some PHA cultures.

    CGMNA does not initiate either, but is made up of the NA GLs who elect the Commission on Information for Recognition
     
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  17. Sammcd

    Sammcd Premium Member

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    I stopped at a Burger King in Denver a couple Years ago and I was wearing a ball cap with the square and compass emblem. I was approached by two gentlemen and was ask questions as to the age of dog and my grandmothers name. I had an idea as to where this was going. I was asked whence came You. I answered from the west traveling east. I then ask of what was I searching. I said I was searching for lunch and wanted a double meat and cheese burger and fries. The bigger guy of the said he was going to take my hat because I was unworthy to wear it.. I kept my hat and got my burger and left.


    Sent from my iPad using My Freemasonry
     
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  18. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    This could be perceived as aggressive. I'm surprised people haven't been shot or fights started. I don't get the logic of me having to trust they're a MM just because they initiate questions on me. That's not how it works. On the street, anyone can wear whatever they want. I may not like it, but I can't stop them and it's literally illegal to take someone's stuff like that. Now I guess you could say that if someone joins a certain lodge knowing that could happen, they would expect it maybe.
     
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  19. MRichard

    MRichard Mark A. Ri'chard Premium Member

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    The problem initially began with John G Jones who was a Prince Hall freemason and attorney. And then it got worse under Jerry Baxter Baldwin & Rev. William Venoid Banks who respectively founded Modern Free & Accepted Colored Masons under Baldwin to International Free & Accepted Modern Masons under Banks. Baldwin recruited Banks and then they fell out. Typically, these guys fall out with each other and then just create another grand lodge.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
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  20. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    Stupid attorneys
     
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